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The important ongoing national conversation about sexual harassment should serve as a wake-up call to companies, board members, and C-suite executives about the need to be proactive when confronted with allegations of harassment or other workplace misconduct. Raising serious legal and reputational concerns, many of these matters will require an investigation led by experienced employment and white-collar attorneys who can efficiently and sensitively examine the truth of claims and determine the best path forward.

Evidence suggests the risks posed by employee misconduct claims have not been top of mind for many corporations. Consider a survey released in October 2017 by the Boardlist, which maintains a directory of women board members, and data analytics firm Qualtrics. The survey, conducted in August 2017 with more than 400 board members at public and private companies participating, showed that nearly 80 percent of surveyed board members had not discussed sexual harassment at their companies. Additionally, nearly 90 percent of surveyed board members had not implemented a plan to address it and more than 80 percent of surveyed board members had not reevaluated their respective company’s risks. The reason most board members gave for their inaction was a belief that sexual harassment was not a problem at their company.

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